Saturday, January 24, 2009

We Need Umbrellas on the Inside...

For those of you who don't know yet, we closed early last Friday (1/23/09) due to a leaky ceiling. Here's the full story (for the sake of blogging):

I woke up late that day knowing that I didn't have to go to the cafe because I had to leave for Med City the following morning. My sister's having her first baby and I was really excited to witness the event. But when I got up from bed I saw my iPod Nano on the table. We needed the Nano at the cafe to play music and I thought Retz forgot to bring it. Padeys texted me that the cafe was full of people and that we already made 2k in just 1 hour. So I took a bath, changed my clothes and delivered the Nano. The cafe was insanely full. I mean really full of people, mostly Ruralites.

I decided to hang-out for a while and help around. I also reviewed our budget for next month's activities and jotted down quotes for my lecture at Diliman on February 2. But it came to a point that helping was not helping at all. I only took up space especially when Yell's cousin, Gelo, and his batchmates from Rural invaded the cafe and took over all the possible leg room the shop can offer. I went to Koinonia to get some air and surfed for a few minutes. When I got back the cafe was still full. It was nearing 7 pm and our sales already surpassed the Monday sales. I was sitting at the bathroom entrance because there wasn't enough space. And it was raining very hard outisde, no one could get out.

Boom. The couch area was leaking, showering Gelo and his friends. Then the trellis started leaking too, spraying the BLD group. It came to a point when the leaks turned into streams of flowing water. I called Joyce and told her that the leaks were uncontrollable and that we had to close the shop. I also called Kuya Boy, our contractor, to fix the problem. In a few minutes the cafe turned into a scene reminiscent of the sinking of the Titanic. The lights were turned off, the books and games were put in garbage bags, all the customers were huddled near the counter, the sofas were transfered to the kitchen and CR, while I was calling people on my celphone like hell while I sat on the toilet bowl. Take note, the cafe was still full of people. Someone even ordered a cookie despite the predicament. Hehe.

It was crazy. Everyone was shouting. Therese, Majals and her sister, were there to assist the evacuation. I called Kuya Rome, Joyce's cousin, and told him to bring a vehicle so we can evacuate the equipment. His parents came with the DMax and put the espresso machine there. Then we transferred all our stuff at our apartment.

Everyone was wet. Gelo and his friends were happy. We were still speechless, unable to believe what just happened. But we were still grateful that no one was hurt and nothing was damaged.

Kuya Boy came and revealed the trash that's been blocking our gutter on the roof. The gutter overflowed and the water crept in our roof. Joyce also came to help after her duty at the hospital in Calamba.

We temporarily dried up the place then closed the night in prayer, thanking God that despite being open for only three hours, we were able to rake in 5k. It was a good team-building exercise for all of us. It's a good bonding experience for the staff too. AND it's also good material for my speech.*

It's in moments like these where you feel happy that you continue to do what you're doing. Despite the odds, the challenges, the obstacles, you move on, persevere, and just be a hard-working, self-employed, minimum wage-earning young entrepreneur.

It doesn't matter if it's a person, a thing, or your job, in all cases your love and your passion will always be tested. And in this case, we passed the test.

Thank you Lord for moments like these.

*On February 2, I was invited by the UP Circle of Entrepreneurs to speak in their 2-day Young Entrepreneurs Convention with the theme Starting UP: EntrePinoy where 300 delegates from different high schools in Metro Manila will be attending. Please pray that I will be able to deliver a good speech and seize the opprotunity to be a good example to these young people.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Barista Goes Down with Injury, Reserves Unveil Talents

First of all, Entrepreneur Magazine posted a correction regarding our e-mail address on their January 2009 issue. Yes, if you haven't noticed the email address was wrong, so go ahead and check.Thanks to the writer, Ate Cindy, and the staff of the magazine, the cafe once again had free publicity. Hehe.

A lot of stuff happened last week. Unfortunately I wasn't there for 2 days (Friday and Saturday) because of an infected right thumb which made my hand immobile and unable to grab or push anything. Thanks to my loyal barista, Neil, and talented barista-in-training, Tracy, the cafe was able to haul the most number of customers in Cafe Antonio recorded history. Friday alone received 113 people and the cafe had a total of exactly 500 for the week. The two baristas told me it was crazy in the kitchen and that they now understand how hard it is to be a barista. Well, that's a good experience for you guys, congratulations!

We patterned the Cafe Antonio LB branch organization after the structure of UPLB student orgs. We have committees and committee heads, an exec, and so on. As some of you have probably seen or witnessed, we have been having our General Assembly or GA every Wednesday when there are few or no customers.

We interviewed Dan for the "cook" position since Padeys will be having a regular job starting February. Remember Dan? He's the long-haired photographer who has shades on regardless of location or time. He will be Tracy's reliever as cook since Tracy's been busy with school and play rehearsals. Dan will officially start on February. We welcome you back, Dan the Japanese Man.

And now that we have five-man crew, we will be having alternating crews starting February. So sometimes Neil will be the barista all day, sometimes I will be the cashier, and sometimes Retz will not be able to greet you at the counter. We did this so we can have day-offs, it's important for us to take care of our health and get some rest.

Ah yes, the Loyalty Mugs! We had 3 customers complete their Loyalty Cards in one day! It would have been 4 if Jomar bought one more drink. But he got his the next day. Your pictures are available at We dump all our pix there. Loyalty Mug perks begin after the Loyalty Program, the last day is on February 28. So by March you can watch out for an insane promo. Better start buying coffee to get your mugs! friends, our Choco Banana Nut Frothiccino is doing very well! We had 23 orders last week, it only ranks second to the monster hit Brownie Fudge Frothiccino in number of orders. As for our other new products, the Granita Blush was ordered 24 times last week while the pizza-like Tuna Melt was served an amazing 53 times! The Tuna Melt got an upgrade last Saturday, we're now serving it on a Baguette instead of a sesame bread slice. Try it with extra cheese and cayenne pepper, it will blow you away (for only 30 pesos?!?! Add 10 for the cheese and the cayenne is free)!

That's it for now folks, I'll be at the cafe on Monday but Neil and Tracy will be taking care of the barista duties. I'm just waiting for my thumb to heal. Oh yes, we have a MultiCab! It will be arriving on Wednesday. It will be our service van aside from Manong Retz's American Era jeep. Thanks to my Pop, I owe him a fortune. But he's giving me a lifetime to pay it back. Haha!

We thank God for keeping us focused and cohesive as a business, as a family, and as friends. It is because of Him that the Cafe Antonio story continues to be a miracle. Continue to pray for our small group as we prepare for our first full year this 2009.

We would like to thank and appreciate all the new friends we met along the way. You guys are an integral part of the cafe. Thanks for your concern and suggestions. And here's a shoutout to all the Ruralites out there: THANKS FOR SUPPORTING YOUR ALUMNI!

See you guys this week! (that was a long entry...)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

FoM: Choco Banana Nut Frothiccino

Thanks to the suggestions of our friends, we have been able to come up with January's Flavor of the Month, the Choco Banana Nut Frothiccino (Php 120)!

There were a bunch of banana-inspired flavors but my "eureka moment" came when 2 of our friends mentioned that they enjoyed anything with Nutella or Crumpy:

miaeow wrote on Jan 1
any drink combi that has nutella in it! hehe

buttercupadventures wrote on Jan 1
parang masarap nga. masarap kumain ng saging na pinapahiran ng crumpy na hazelnut or chocolate eh ^^,


The drink doesn't have Nutella or Crumpy, as a substitute I put hazelnut syrup and chocolate sauce instead. To create the banana taste, the crew decided that the banana extract wasn't enough so we threw half a banana in there.

The drink actually tastes like banana split because of the added banana slices and crushed nuts on top. You can also order a hot drink version for the same price.

Another new drink we have is the Granita Blush--a non-coffee based grenadine blended drink. It's not actually new, the recipe came from Cafe Antonio - Dumaguete (http:/ It's non-coffee based partner, the Blue Crush, is yet to come. Watch out for it this summer.

As for new food, the Pasta Antonio--a tomato-based vegetarian pasta reminiscent of a Putanesca, and Tuna Melt--an open-faced sandwich with tuna and cheese, Joyce is still learining how to make them (she's the one who prepares all our sauces and spreads) since the recipes are an original of Cafe Antonio - Dumaguete.

So this year we're giving you guys a little taste of what's it like at Cafe Antonio's main branch in the Visayas. We hope there will be more to come.

Thanks again for your suggestions and we're looking forward for more discussions like that on Multiply! God bless!